DC wins 'Gold' award for bike friendliness
- Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the League of American Bicyclists has named the city as a "Gold" Bicycle Friendly Community. DC received the award during the National Bike Summit, which is taking place in the city this week.
- The District is one of 30 U.S. cities to hold the designation, according to the League of American Bicyclists' online database. It is the only major city on the East Coast to receive a Gold designation, and the fourth largest in the country to do so, behind Tucson/East Pima County, AZ; Austin, TX; and San Francisco. The breakdown of other cities' designations is: five Platinum, 82 Silver and 311 Bronze.
- DC earned Gold status for a combination of factors, such as ranking number two nationally among large cities for the number of residents who bike to work, the amount of bike lanes and trails and its bike-share program.
Washington, DC has worked its way up to Gold status after starting at Bronze 15 years ago and then making Silver in 2011. "As we continue to improve and expand our bike infrastructure and make cycling a dynamic component of our city’s transportation network, this award is a testament to how far the District has come," Bowser said in a statement.
The city has added miles of bike lanes — many of them protected — downtown and regularly encourages metropolitan area residents to cycle to work. Bike clubs are a common sight throughout the city, sometimes even spawning post-ride happy hours in the evenings.
DC was the first city to officially launch a traditional bike-sharing program, and last year it became the second, behind Seattle, to allow dockless bike-share businesses on its streets. City leaders are in the process of deciding whether to expand the six-month dockless pilot. Kyle Rowe, head of government partnerships for dockless company Spin, told Smart Cities Dive: "They're currently in the phase of evaluating the pilot... We've had a lot of conversations with them [and]... we're continually meeting with them."
He noted that DC had a firm pilot plan for adding dockless bike-shares and a cap on the number of bikes allowed, which has prevented it from running into some problems that other cities have experienced, such as market saturation or customers leaving their dockless bikes in inappropriate places. "That's something for future cities to consider when they're looking at what policy frameworks they have available," Rowe said.
If it stays on this trajectory, DC could join the elite group of five other cities to have earned Platinum status for bike friendliness. “While there is more to do to make bicycling a safe, comfortable and accessible option for all, our nation's capital stands as a model for other communities from every child receiving bicycling education to leading in bike sharing and expanding the bicycling network,” said League of American Bicyclists Executive Director Bill Nesper in a statement.
- The Washington Post D.C. wins Gold in bike friendliness
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